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  • Writer's pictureElite Force Safety

Do you need Managers or Leaders?

There are two things that great leaders need to have, empathy and perspective. These things are very often overlooked, leaders are often consumed and concerned about their status and position that these two things are forgotten. This means that they forget what their real job is. The real job of a leader is not about being in charge, it's about taking care of those in our charge. I don't think people realise this and people don't get trained for this. When we are junior, our only responsibility is to be good at our job. Some people go away and get advanced responsibility for their job, for example on a course of advanced learning. A normal work pattern and career path could be, you show up, you work hard, you do a good job because you're caring and the company recognises this. They may even give you more training to be even better at the job you are good at. This could involve going on days of training away from your normal environment, this could be to upgrade your software to make you a better person for the company at doing your job. Following the training, if you were good at your job, they may look to promote you. At some point you will get promoted to a position that you are now responsible for the people that are doing the job you used to do. At this point, we have had no training about how to be responsible for the people that are doing the job. This is where the difference between a manager and a leader starts. 

One of the reasons why managers micromanage, is because they do know how to do the job better than the staff, that's what got them promoted. What should happen is, there should be some form of transition from worker to leader. This can happen naturally, sometimes this happens quickly, sometimes slowly, unfortunately sometimes not at all. We all have to go through this transition of being responsible for the job, in turning into somebody who is responsible for the people doing the job. 

As mentioned before, one of the issues in quite a lot of companies, is that they are not teaching how to be good leaders and lead. Leadership is a skill like any other, and it is something that needs to be practiced and used on a regular basis like a muscle. If you practice it and you use it on a regular basis it will become strong and you will be a strong leader. Alternatively, if you stop practicing leadership, you will become a weak leader just like the muscle. 

Leadership could be compared to parenting. Everybody has the capacity to be a parent, this doesn't mean everybody wants to be a parent and also means that everybody should be a parent. Leadership is the same, we all have the capacity to be a leader but it doesn't mean that everybody should or wants to be a leader.

The reason is, leadership comes at a great personal sacrifice. Remember, you are not in charge, you are responsible for those in your charge. That means that, when everything goes well, you have to give away all the credit and when everything goes wrong, you have to take all the responsibility. Sacrifice can mean staying late to show somebody what to do or maybe how to do it, it means when something goes wrong instead of yelling and shouting, it means you have to find out what went wrong, why did it go wrong, how can we stop it from going wrong again. Instead of taking over, you should be saying things like “try again”, “let me know if you need assistance” when the overwhelming pressure is not on the employee but on you. 

At the end of the day, great leaders are not responsible for the job, they are responsible for the people doing the job. To that end, what happens is managers constantly criticize the workers. Common sayings “like we need to get the right people”, “We need to employ the right person for the job”, “We need to build a stronger team, with a strong team we can be stronger as a business”., “Lets get rid of that individual”. The reality is, it's not the people, it's the leadership. If we create the right environment, we will employ the right people all the time. If we create the wrong environment, we get people who want to turn up, keep their head down, do the job, go home doing as little as possible in between. It's not the people! 

Why are we so quick to hire and fire? Why is it when someone has performance issues, is it instinct is to say you're out? We do not practice empathy. What does empathy look like? An example of a lack of empathy could be - Somebody, walks into your office and tells you the work is not up to standard, “You need to up your game or we are not sure what the future may look like”. How inspired do you think that individual would be to come to work the next day? Here's what empathy looks like - Somebody walks into your office and tells you the work is not up to standard, the next thing they say is “Are you ok, I'm worried about you, is there anything we can help you with”. Empathy is about being concerned about the human being, not just their work standard. We have to practice empathy! 

At EFS, we deliver Leadership and Communication Training.

Upskilling your managers, educating them on leadership styles and communication skills. Giving them soft skills, confidence and coaching on how to best approach individuals and offer guidance, encouraging teamwork and effective communication. Maximising the productivity and effectiveness of your teams. Manager Intervention Leadership and Communication Training, upskilling your managers, educating them on leadership styles and communication skills. If this is something you would be interested in, please give us a call.

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